The Belgian is a sensitive dog. He is devoted to his family and watches strangers carefully. He should be stable emotionally, neither shy or aggressive. He is willing to please, and always asking for love and attention.
This is a herding dog by nature, He will chase, run in a circle, and herd. He will make his own work of "herding" if he becomes bored. He will sometimes use his voice to get attention, and is very good at eye contact. The Tervuren makes an excellent obedience dog, agility dog, tracker, flyball dog, and of course working shepherding dog, in addition to the most wonderful companion if this is the breed for you.
This dog will not be happy in front of the fireplace unless he has had a full day. He prefers to be moving thus is well suited to an active person who likes to jog, take long walks, and play games like retrieving. Then he is happy to sit with you by the fire.
The Tervuren requires socialization. He is a curious dog who needs to build confidence in places other than his own home. Sitting near a baseball game or playground are examples of how to show him that he will be safe and can count on you no matter where he is. Socialization should include exposing the dog to as many different places, people, situations, and footings as possible. Anything you may want to expose your dog to as an adult ideally will be introduced while he is a puppy. This will help him to be more accepting of new situations as an adult and a more confident dog.
This dog is very willing to please his human leader. He must always know you are the leader and he is the subordinate dog. All family members will be above the dog. He will be confused if one person allows him on the couch and another does not. Thus, consistency is of utmost importance as are gentle training methods. Food rewards work well as does generous praise. Harsh physical force teaches the dog to fear the handler and does not teach him what to do; it teaches him to worry about when the next correction is coming. The goal of training is to teach the dog to understand how to behave and really learn what is expected of him. There are also various training facilities, but please attend a couple of classes early in a session before you enroll in one. This is so you can see how the dogs are trained and if they seem to enjoy their handlers. Are the instructors sensitive to the requirements of dogs of various personalities or do they only teach one method of training a particular exercise? Do the instructors keep the class moving well and remove a problem dog if necessary? Always watch what the other dogs are doing and if the other owners are watching their dogs and keeping it on a short lead if it is lunging or aggressive. Try to keep a large space between you and a dog that seems to worry you. You do not want to teach your dog to be afraid of other dogs or fight with them. With a little patience and a lot of love, your Tervuren will be a pleasure to live with as they are highly intelligent and love to work.
The Tervuren has a double coat. The undercoat is short and fluffy. It is usually very dense, depending on the climate. The outercoat is long, lays flat, and is slightly harsh. This dog will lose hair and a thorough weekly brushing is all that is needed to control hair loss and keep the coat tangle free during most of the year. During shed season is is required daily. The Tervuren must never be shaved or clipped. The coat acts as an insulator in the winter and will thin in the summer to cool the dog. Altering the coat by cutting it will upset the temperature control of the dog and could cause heatstroke in the hot summer months.
Links to more Belgian Info
CKC Belgian Sheepdog Standard
AKC Belgian Tervuren Standard
Belgian Shepherd Standard
The Belgian Shepherds Homeland Page
ABTC Belgian History Lesson
Sitstay, Belgians & a whole lot more